Following on from my recent comments about the UK being a viable location to be a life sciences startup - with the right governmental support - it was interesting to read the ABPI-BHP-CBI report published last week, focusing on the important role that the West Midlands has to play in making the country a global life sciences leader.
It was nice to see lots of expertise and opportunity in a region other than the Golden Triangle (London and Oxbridge). They have extensive clinical trials capabilities and I was particularly intrigued by the innovation hub in Birmingham, which has a Precision Health Technologies Accelerator (PHTA), so the region is really working at the forefront of the industry. Clearly more needs to be done to better advertise the region’s value proposition in life sciences.
The West Midlands is punching above its weight given the level of R&D investment per head and the number of people employed in the industry. To capitalise on its potential, and allow it to contribute in a much more meaningful way to the government’s Life Sciences Vision, the region needs a more supportive and attractive environment within which to do life sciences business. Much like the story of life sciences startups, the UK government needs to increase funding, offer the right incentives, and create a policy landscape that attracts more talent to, industry collaboration with and investment in, the West Midlands life sciences ecosystem.